Edna Ferber: Fanny Herself

16. CHAPTER SIXTEEN (continued)

Fanny's eyes were searching the packed rails. "Ted!" she called, and choked back a sob. "Teddy!" Still she did not see him. She was searching, womanlike, for a tall, blondish boy, with a sulky mouth, and humorous eyes, and an unruly lock of hair that would insist on escaping from the rest and straggling down over his forehead. I think she was even looking for a boy with a violin in his arms. A boy in knickers. Women lose all sense of time and proportion at such times. Still she did not see him. The passengers were filing down the gangplank now; rushing down as quickly as the careful hands of the crew would allow them, and hurling themselves into the arms of friends and family crowded below. Fanny strained her eyes toward that narrow passageway, anxious, hopeful, fearful, heartsick. For the moment Olga and the baby did not exist for her. And then she saw him.

She saw him through an unimaginable disguise. She saw him, and knew him in spite of the fact that the fair-haired, sulky, handsome boy had vanished, and in his place walked a man. His hair was close-cropped, German-fashion; his face careworn and older than she had ever thought possible; his bearing, his features, his whole personality stamped with an unmistakable distinction. And his clothes were appallingly, inconceivably German. So she saw him, and he was her brother, and she was his sister, and she stretched out her arms to him.

"Teddy!" She hugged him close, her face buried in his shoulder. "Teddy, you--you Spitzbube you!" She laughed at that, a little hysterically. "Not that I know what a Spitzbube is, but it's the Germanest word I can think of." That shaven head. Those trousers. That linen. The awful boots. The tie! "Oh, Teddy, and you're the Germanest thing I ever saw." She kissed him again, rapturously.

He kissed her, too, wordlessly at first. They moved aside a little, out of the crowd. Then he spoke for the first time.

"God! I'm glad to see you, Fanny." There was tragedy, not profanation in his voice. His hand gripped hers. He turned, and now, for the first time, Fanny saw that at his elbow stood a buxom, peasant woman, evidently a nurse, and in her arms a child. A child with Molly Brandeis' mouth, and Ferdinand Brandeis' forehead, and Fanny Brandeis' eyes, and Theodore Brandeis' roseleaf skin, and over, and above all these, weaving in and out through the whole, an expression or cast--a vague, undefinable thing which we call a resemblance--that could only have come from the woman of the picture, Theodore Brandeis' wife, Olga.

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